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La Biennale di Venezia

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urban american city (urbanAC)

Land Narratives — Fantastic Futures

  • TUE - SUN
    20/05 > 30/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    01/10 > 26/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Toni L. Griffin (Chicago, USA, 1964)
lives and works in New York, USA


There is an undeniably dystopic past at the core of every African American’s history. However, this narrative is not exclusively situated in pain. Within every Black space and body that holds this trauma, there exists an element of the fantastic that breeds resilience and creativity. Between the milestones of Juneteenth and the Civil Rights Movement, Blacks in Northern America migrated to segregated cities and built prosperous economies, producing extraordinary Black wealth, technologies, and culture. However, as Sylvia Wynter describes, our value has always been “measur[ed]… according to the single yardstick of technoscientific accomplishment that is defining the contemporary West’s [and White] ‘mechanical perfection’.”
Land Narratives — Fantastic Futures exposes the lost histories and unrecognised imaginations of creativity born in spite of the segregation and land vacancy found in ‘Black Belt’ neighbourhoods of Chicago’s South Side. It develops new, multiple, and wayward ‘yardsticks’ for identifying and working with previously unmeasured cultural values.


Authorial collaborators
The Just City Lab
Technical collaborators
Sandra Steinbrecher, Vashon Jordan, Jr., Lee Bey, Saurabh Mhatre, Deighton Abrams, Christopher Nelson
Danny Clarke, Rayshad Dorsey, Gabriel Soomar
With the additional support of
Theaster Gates & The Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab, SOM Foundation, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Architettura
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